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Marion County Cattlemen Having Hard Time Finding Calf Warming Boxes

Posted: Friday, February 28th, 2014 at 5:54 am
Author: KNIA KRLS News - Karen Overgaard

Beef producers are gearing up for calving season during one of the coldest winters Marion County has seen in a long time, says Iowa State Extension Beef Field Specialist Patrick Wall. Wall says when calves start coming in 20 degree weather it’s ok, but temps in the 10 below range are not good for a newborn, wet calf. Wall says another issue for calving is when the weather is as cold as it’s been, a cow’s heart works harder to keep her warm, and as a result, more blood is pumped to her fetus. As that happens, the calf grows larger, which many times will result in the cow needing assistance delivering her calf. If a producer has to pull a calf, the cow might need a longer recovery time, and the calf might not be able to nurse immediately. Hot boxes are a tool some producers use, Cattleman Rich Meinders tells KNIA KRLS News that there is a shortage of calf warming boxes, which are used to keep newborn calves warm. Meinders says cattlemen are having trouble locating these boxes. Wall says if commercial boxes can’t be located and warming is needed, some alternatives are the cab of a pickup or a deep freezer with a heat lamp or even a bathtub can be effective in helping to save a cold newborn calf.